Collaborative training

by Stearns-Montgomery & Proctor

Three SM&P attorneys participated in Collaborative Practice training in Tulsa, Oklahoma this month. According to founder and managing partner Mary Montgomery, clients and marriage counselors like to work with attorneys who have been collaboratively trained. “We see our clients when they are going through some of the worst experiences of their lives,” she said. “Anything we can do to make their legal challenges less painful is worth learning about.”

Partner Tracy Crider, Lance Dutton, and Melanie Webre were trained to provide a more cooperative form of legal dispute resolution. The collaborative process is a voluntary approach in which parties commit to resolution without litigation, engaging a team of specially trained attorneys and possibly experts in other fields who encourage the two parties to work together to resolve their dispute.

“A combative or conflict-based approach can leave both parties at a disadvantage from the get-go,” said Tracy. “The goal of collaboration is, instead of ‘winning’ or taking something from the other party, to find a suitable compromise that benefits everyone involved to some extent.”

Collaborative law offers several benefits to clients, including control. “Collaborative law is a unique process,” said Lance, “that offers an alternative to a divorce played out in court or mediation. Rather than adversaries, all parties, including attorneys, attempt to work together to achieve the best results.”

Melanie likes how collaborative law allows more flexibility for each party’s schedule. “The collaborative process allows the parties to move forward at their own pace rather than be at the mercy of litigation deadlines and court schedules. The process is also conducted in private as opposed to litigation, which occurs in open court.”

To learn more about how our highly qualified attorneys can engage in a collaborative process to resolve your case, contact one of our five Atlanta area offices today.